Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
Braves hold off Cubs’ late charge
CHICAGO — Kyle Wright plunked four Cubs batters but still left with the lead after a last-minute call-up, Will Smith stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Atlanta Braves escaped with a bizarre 5-2 win Friday over Chicago.
Wright was recalled from the club’s alternate site to replace Drew Smyly, who was scratched and placed on the 10-day injured list with left forearm inflammation Friday morning. Wright hit four batters, including Javier Báez twice, but limited Chicago to two runs and three hits over 4⅓ innings. He also doubled for his first career hit.
“I thought he did a great job,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “For the most part, he kept us in the game.”
Four relievers, including winner Josh Tomlin (2-0), kept the Cubs scoreless until Smith entered for the ninth. Atlanta’s closer walked the bases loaded with two outs before striking out Joc Pederson to cap his third save in three tries.
Willson Contreras homered off Wright as the Cubs lost their second straight and fifth of six. Contreras was one of three Cubs struck by Wright pitches Friday as the Cubs assumed the major league lead for hit batsmen with 13. Chicago batters were hit a leaguemost 52 times last season.
The Braves took the lead for good with a three-run fourth highlighted by Ronald Acuña Jr.’s two-run single. Marcell Ozuna added three hits and an RBI for Atlanta, which has won two straight since ending a four-game skid.
The Cubs began the day hitting a majors-worst .168 and ended it stranding a dozen runners.
Manager David Ross served a one-game suspension handed down a day earlier by Major League Baseball. The manager, game-planning coach Mike Borzello (one game) and reliever Ryan Tepera (three games) were suspended and fined after Tepera threw behind Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff in a win Tuesday.
Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte left the game after suffering a left hamstring injury while running the bases in the fourth., and second baseman Ozzie Albies left in the top of the ninth after being struck by a pitch on the right calf by Cubs reliever Justin Steele. Snitker said both players were being evaluated after the game.
Phillies 9, Cardinals 2: Zach Eflin pitched into the eighth inning, J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run homer and Philadelphia beat visiting St. Louis.
Eflin (1-0) allowed six hits, struck out six and walked none in seven-plus innings. The lanky right-hander retired 12 straight batters at one point and exited after surrendering a two-run homer to Justin Williams in the eighth.
Cardinals righty Carlos Martinez (0-3) gave up six runs and five hits in five innings.
The Phillies jumped ahead 6-0 in the second with their biggest inning of the season. Nine straight batters reached after Martinez got the first out.
Dodgers’ Bellinger out with fracture in left fibula: Earlier in the week, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts seemed encouraged by the progress Cody Bellinger was making in his return from a calf injury. That optimism took a turn in recent days when, Roberts said, Bellinger’s progressed “plateaued.” On Friday, Roberts announced that a recent test showed a hairline fracture in Bellinger’s left fibula.
Roberts claimed he didn’t know Bellinger’s timetable for a return. Earlier in the day, however, Roberts told the league’s television network that he expected Bellinger to miss “another week or two.” The Dodgers hadn’t yet announced the fracture when Roberts made that estimate.
Bellinger traveled with the team for their road trip, but Roberts’ timetable suggests he won’t be activated at least until the Dodgers return home next weekend.
Bellinger sustained the injury April 5 when Oakland Athletics reliever Reymin Guduan stepped on his calf in a race to first base in the ninth inning of a Dodgers blowout win. Bellinger beat Guduan to the bag, but limped off the field. Roberts said initial tests didn’t reveal any structural damage. The Dodgers waited four days to place him on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 6.
Tim Mead is quitting as president of Baseball’s Hall of Fame after two years. The Hall said Friday the move takes effect in mid-May. Mead was announced as Hall president on April 30, 2019, and took over that June 24 from Jeff Idelson, who had held the job since 2008. The 62-year-old Mead joined the Hall after 40 years with the Angels’ organization, the last 22 as vice president of communications. He served as assistant general manager from 1994-97.